09.09.09

Whitehouse Statement on President’s Address to Congress on Health Insurance Reform

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today released the following statement following President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress about the effort to reform our health insurance system:

"For the millions of people in Rhode Island and across the country who cannot afford health insurance, or who struggle under the weight of expensive premiums and co-pays, reform simply can't wait. We've waited too long already. Tonight the President reinforced that urgency, and I'm confident that we will pass meaningful health care reform legislation this year.

"If anyone believes we can afford to dawdle and delay, I urge them to read the hundreds of stories posted on my online Health Care Storyboard by Rhode Islanders entangled in our current system. Christine Ongano, my guest tonight at the President's address, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and has been forced to go without insurance coverage for her and her family while simultaneously battling her condition. She now has coverage thanks to Medicare, but her husband and son cannot afford both health insurance and the payments on their mortgage. No one in this country should have to choose between health insurance and a home.

"The President's speech outlined his core principles for reform and reiterated that doing nothing is not an option. I was thrilled to hear President Obama express his strong support for real reform, and I will continue to fight for measures that will make this a reality: a strong public insurance option; quality improvements that lower cost while improving care; cost-effective prevention strategies; and a robust and secure information infrastructure.

"Tonight President Obama laid the framework for reform, and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the Senate delivers comprehensive legislation that improves coverage, lowers costs, and makes our health insurance system stable and secure."

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